Forums: Skydiving: Gear and Rigging:
How much can a Singer 20U do?

 


indyz  (D 28525)

Aug 21, 2008, 12:27 PM
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How much can a Singer 20U do? Can't Post

I've been keeping my eye out for a good first machine for a while. I am limited by budget and space to one machine, so I'd like to start with a zigzag machine that can also do a good straight stitch. I've got a line on an early 90's Japanese 20U at a pretty good price.

I'm sure it will handle just about all of the canopy stuff I can throw at it, but will it handle heavier stuff like replacing riser velcro or container repairs (multiple layers of cordura for example)? I guess if somebody could give me an idea of what makes a 20U break a sweat, that would be most helpful.


masterrigger1  (D 14167)

Aug 21, 2008, 2:58 PM
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Re: [indyz] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

Brian,
The 20U is an OK machine at best. I have one and the only thing I use it for is the Zig-zag stitch at the elastic on BOC pouches.

The problem with a 20U is the feeding of the material. If you look at the presser foot, the hinge point is way in the back. When starting a piece of material, the presser foot stays at an angle that hinders the piece from moving toward the back. it usually is OK after you get started though.

The machine will sew through 4 layers of type IV easily. Again it is the start of the feed that is the problem.

Usually I place a wedge of sorts under the hinge point to even out the foot. This helps a great deal.

You will need the standard needle plate (no zig-zag) and straight presser foot to do canopy work.
These are readily available at most parts warehouses.

Cheers,
MEL


skybeergodd

Aug 21, 2008, 3:02 PM
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Re: [indyz] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

I own 2...a Singer 20U33 and a 20U73...I absolutely love them....Great all around machine. They are great for canopy repair, replacing velcro, and any general repair or sewing projsect. Of course thats just my opinion and I'm sure you will hear from both sides.


ZigZagMarquis  (D License)

Aug 21, 2008, 7:39 PM
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Re: [masterrigger1] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

Quote:
You will need the standard needle plate (no zig-zag)...

Hey!

Mad




Laugh


(This post was edited by ZigZagMarquis on Aug 21, 2008, 7:40 PM)


councilman24  (D 8631)

Aug 22, 2008, 6:10 AM
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Re: [masterrigger1] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

MEL,

The local sewing store sells a little plastic riser to put under the foot to start thick materials. It's a plastic about 2 inches long with a 30deg. bend in the middle. The two sides fo the bend are different thicknesses, you pick the best one. In addition there is a notch for the needle on each end. The 'wedge of some sort' that you need.


councilman24  (D 8631)

Aug 22, 2008, 6:13 AM
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Re: [indyz] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

I don't have a 20U, I decided to get something a little better. But one complaint I've heard is that the straight stitch isn't perfectly straight. Some machines lock out the zig zag mechanics and do a true straight stitch. Others, and I believe the 20U leave all of the zig zag machinery in line and just set the width to zero. Usually okay but can have a little wiggle left in it.

Some one correct me if I'm wrong about the 20U.

I tried to get an older Japan 20u for awhile. If you can get one I'd get it.

What's a pretty good price. I've seen them bid over $500 on ebay. (old ones)


indyz  (D 28525)

Aug 22, 2008, 11:10 AM
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Re: [councilman24] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I don't have a 20U, I decided to get something a little better. But one complaint I've heard is that the straight stitch isn't perfectly straight. Some machines lock out the zig zag mechanics and do a true straight stitch. Others, and I believe the 20U leave all of the zig zag machinery in line and just set the width to zero. Usually okay but can have a little wiggle left in it.

Some one correct me if I'm wrong about the 20U.

I tried to get an older Japan 20u for awhile. If you can get one I'd get it.

What's a pretty good price. I've seen them bid over $500 on ebay. (old ones)

As far as I can tell from the manuals, 20Us have a needle bar lock that improves the quality of the straight stitch. You also have to swap in a straight stitch foot, needle plate, and feed dog. Either way, since it's local I have the chance to go try it out before I commit to buying, so I'll make sure to run some straight stitches too.

The price is $700. Not incredible, but it seems reasonable for the age, especially if it was maintained as well as the seller claims. Plus I don't have to pay shipping.


councilman24  (D 8631)

Aug 22, 2008, 11:29 AM
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Re: [indyz] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

Someone else corrected me on the zig zag lock on the 20U.

$700 sounds like a lot to me. You can get a new one for that. Not as good of quality but also a new table and motor. But maybe thats okay for where your at. I got a Pfaff Zigzag for less than that shipped off ebay. I paid about that much for my double needle.

But I'm cheap.Angelic


bliston  (D 23040)

Aug 22, 2008, 5:46 PM
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Re: [councilman24] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

I own this walking foot zig-zag machine and it rocks. It's industrial strength, portable, has a great slow stitch, and it does a very decent strait stitch (I have a binder for it too and have made a ton of gear bags and weight belts). I use an ancient singer strait stitch for canopy work but this machine for everything else. I know people are as resistant to new machines as they are to non-PD canopies, but I've had to pipe in with a plug for this one because it's treated me so well.

Sailrite website

Ben


ChrisClark  (D 8433)

Aug 24, 2008, 8:58 AM
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Re: [indyz] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

I have a 20u and have made a complete container system using this machine. The only part it could not deal with was the final sewing of multiple layers and stiffener plates but it has handled most container repairs. I suggest that you get the straight foot/feed dog/needle plate set as this is far better and handles heavier stitching better than the standard set up with the zig-zag foot. As regards it not coping well at the start on thick material, this is true but I use small pieces of type 4 pushed in at the back of the foot to level out the thickness before stitching. The price looks a bit steep, I got my 20u for $300.


skytribe  (D 9403)

Aug 21, 2013, 10:07 PM
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Re: [ChrisClark] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

So I have a 20u copy and the machine appears to sew well once it gets going but when I try to start near an edge it seems to have problems feeding properly. It sounds like this may be the same problem described but I'm still a little confused as to how to resolve easily.

Any advice of pictures of the wedge ....


koppel  (F License)

Aug 22, 2013, 6:15 AM
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Re: [bliston] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

bliston wrote:
I own this walking foot zig-zag machine and it rocks.
Sailrite website

Ben

I recently got a Strongarm which is a copy of the Sailrite. Took it to a boogie to do basic rigging on and it got a work out. Not a bad investment if you need something portable.


indyz  (D 28525)

Aug 22, 2013, 11:56 AM
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Re: [skytribe] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

skytribe wrote:
So I have a 20u copy and the machine appears to sew well once it gets going but when I try to start near an edge it seems to have problems feeding properly. It sounds like this may be the same problem described but I'm still a little confused as to how to resolve easily.

Any advice of pictures of the wedge ....

Wow, hard to believe it's been 5 years since I started this thread. I ended up buying that 20U and got a lot of use out of it before moving on to better machines.

Anyway, to answer your question, I just fold up a piece of scrap material to match the thickness of what I'm sewing. The important thing is that the foot is level when you start sewing. If the back of the foot is significantly lower than the front, the feed dogs won't be able to pull the work piece through.


skytribe  (D 9403)

Aug 22, 2013, 12:55 PM
Post #14 of 15 (1219 views)
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Re: [indyz] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

I went back and looked at the machine and was trying to figure out what was going on - ie. when its in the middle of the material it sews find but near edges it doesn't seem to feed and this causes it to bind up as the material is not feeding.

Looking at the feed dogs - they appear to be more biased towards the top of the holes in the throat plate. I mean with relatively small stitches starting near the edge the top dog feed pair are nowhere near on the material and hence once the bottom pair of feeddogs are trying to move the material.

I took a look around and found a singer 20u manual that implies that the feed dogs can be adjusted to center them in the hole. I think this may need to be adjusted. When its in the middle of the material both pairs of feed dogs are able to move the material through and it sews without problem.

I will try and take a couple of pictures tonight and post them - anyone else have any ideas ?


skytribe  (D 9403)

Aug 23, 2013, 11:07 AM
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Re: [skytribe] How much can a Singer 20U do? [In reply to] Can't Post

Added some pictures of the feed dogs at the top and bottom of the needle stroke. It seems as though the feed dogs should be close to the bottom of the throat plate holes.

Does this look as though it needs adjusting to move the feed dogs better aligned lengthwise to remedy this problem.

Any advice on adjusting from you 20u owners out there would be greatly appreciated. (Its a Tacsew 20u73 model)


(This post was edited by skytribe on Aug 23, 2013, 12:12 PM)
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